The Ghost in The Ballot Box: Catalonia’s Crisis in Context | Dissent Magazine

Franco’s legacy and the memory of authoritarian rule in Spain loomed over last week’s Catalan independence referendum—a pivotal episode in a century-long conflict.

Sorgente: The Ghost in The Ballot Box: Catalonia’s Crisis in Context | Dissent Magazine

Annunci

Ma perché mai gli uomini sono cattivi?

Ma perché mai gli uomini sono cattivi? Quanto mi stupisco su questa terra. Perché diventano così presto carichi di odio, astiosi? Perché adorano vendicarsi, dire subito male di te, loro che presto moriranno poveretti? E’ incredibile che questa orrenda avventura degli umani che arrivano su questa terra, ridono, si muovono, poi di colpo non si muovono più, non li renda buoni. E perché ti rispondono subito male, con una voce da cacatoa, se sei dolce con loro e dai loro l’impressione di essere senza importanza, ossia senza pericolo? Questo fa si che i teneri devono far finta di essere cattivi, per essere lasciati in pace, o anche, cosa tragica, per essere amati. E se si andasse a letto a dormire sonni spaventosi? Cane che dorme non ha pulci. Ma si, andiamo a dormire, il sonno ha i vantaggi della morte senza il suo piccolo inconveniente. Andiamoci a sistemare nella gradevole bara. Quanto mi piacerebbe poter togliere, come lo sdentato la dentiera che mette in un bicchiere d’acqua accanto al letto, togliere il mio cervello dalla sua scatola, togliere il mio cuore troppo pulsante, o povero fesso che fa troppo bene il suo dovere, togliere il mio cervello e il mio cuore e immergerli, questi due poveri miliardari, in soluzioni rinfrescanti mentre io dormirei come il bambino che non sarò mai più. Quanto pochi sono gli umani e come diventa subito deserto il mondo.

Albert Cohen, Il libro di mia madre, trad. it. G. Bogliolo, Rizzoli, Milano 1992

European Union Arms Exports

Official Journal of the European Union annual reports on the European Union Code of Conduct on Arms Exports

The EU exports billions of euros’ worth of weaponry and other military hardware every year. Below are details of these exports broken down by source and destination country, year, and type of goods.

Click on individual values to filter results.

Sorgente: Data Browser | European Network Against Arms Trade

Somalia: Forgotten Somalia – #MogadishuMourns #PrayforSomalia – allAfrica.com

Saturday 14 October marked a dark day for Somalia and indeed Africa with a terrorist truck bombing in Mogadishu which killed more than 300 people, and injured another 200. Some of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition. The terror attack is the worst in Somalia’s history.

Sorgente: Somalia: Forgotten Somalia – #MogadishuMourns #PrayforSomalia – allAfrica.com

Piccole utopie crescono, grandi bugie crollano

Analisi e risposte che condivido, purtroppo penso e Trump ne è la conferma che a questo tipo di gente ha la mente troppo occupata da altro per capire il concetto o meglio: da questo orecchio non ci sentono.

Il simplicissimus

8365d7_84506059e5164bfaa22582a62a5d1797Che il neo liberismo con le sue teorie dell’economicismo integrale fosse incompatibile con la salvaguardia dell’ambiente e del pianeta stesso, era intuibile e logico, ma oggi ha anche le sua sistemazione concettuale e insieme la sua dimostrazione pratica: un recente studio pubblicato su Nature a gennaio e riportato sul Guardian più recentemente (qui il  link ) spiega more matematico, che è del tutto impossibile far coesistere gli obiettivi di massima del tanto decantato accordo di Parigi sul riscaldamento globale e insieme la mitica crescita, ovvero l’abracadabra con il quale le elites cercano di ipnotizzare e ingannare la massa delle persone che di quella crescita non vedranno nemmeno le briciole. La ragione è molto semplice: su base annua ad ogni aumento del pil pro capite (ma qui parliamo tipicamente del pollo di Trilussa) dell’ 1,8 per cento, quello auspicato dall’Fmi per l’insieme delle economie, corrisponde una crescita dell’ 1,9 per cento delle…

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Giustizia ed eguaglianza contro il razzismo: il 21 ottobre a Roma

Aderiamo e sosteniamo con forza l’appello per la manifestazione nazionale del prossimo 21 ottobre a Roma. Invitiamo tutte e tutti a partecipare e a diffondere l’iniziativa. Riportiamo il testo: ‘Giustizia ed eguaglianza contro il razzismo: il 21 ottobre tutte/i a Roma’.

Sorgente: Giustizia ed eguaglianza contro il razzismo: il 21 ottobre a Roma

The Decline of Play and Rise in Children’s Mental Disorders

There’s a reason kids are more anxious and depressed than ever.

During the same half-century or more that free play has declined, school and school-like activities (such as lessons out of school and adult-directed sports) have risen continuously in prominence. Children today spend more hours per day, days per year, and years of their life in school than ever before. More weight is given to tests and grades than ever. Outside of school, children spend more time than ever in settings in which they are directed, protected, catered to, ranked, judged, and rewarded by adults. In all of these settings adults are in control, not children.

Sorgente: The Decline of Play and Rise in Children’s Mental Disorders

Catalonia Shows the Danger of Disarming Civilians 

Ready to repeal the right to bear arms? Hours before America’s latest mass shooting, heavily armed Spanish National Police disrupted a regional vote among its citizens. Spain’s “common sense gun laws” may keep Catalan patriots from defending their newly declared independence.

Since the tragic murder of 59 peaceful concertgoers in Las Vegas Sunday, I’ve heard well-intentioned Americans from all political corners echoing heartbroken and tempting refrains:

Can’t we just ban guns?

Surely we can all get together on the rocket launchers.

Things like this would happen less often.

We have enough military.

While victims were still in surgery, some took to television and social media to criticize the “outdated” and “dangerous” Second Amendment to the Constitution. They have lived so long in a safe, stable society that they falsely believe armed citizens are a threat to life and liberty for everyone.

Those who claim to see no necessity or benefits of individual gun ownership need only look to the rolling hills of Catalonia, where a live social experiment is currently unfolding.

Unarmed Patriots

Just hours before an alleged lone gunman opened fire from the Mandalay Bay casino, the citizens of a small region surrounding Barcelona, Spain, cast a vote for their regional independence. Catalonia’s citizens have a unique language, culture, and history, and consider Spain a neighboring power, not their rightful rulers. So as America’s Continental Congress heroically did (and as Texans and Californians occasionally threaten to do) Catalonia wished to declare independence and secede.

Spain has enacted, it would seem, the kind of “common sense restrictions” American gun-control advocates crave.

Polling stations in Catalonia were attacked by heavily armed agents of the state with riot gear and pointed rifles. Spanish National Police fired rubber bullets and unleashed tear gas canisters on voters, broke down polling center doors, disrupted the vote, and destroyed enough ballots to throw results into serious doubt.

Exceedingly few of those would-be patriots were armed.

In Spain, firearm ownership is not a protected individual right. Civilian firearms licenses are restricted to “cases of extreme necessity” if the government finds “genuine reason.” Background checks, medical exams, and license restrictions further restrict access. Licenses are granted individually by caliber and model, with automatic weapons strictly forbidden to civilians. Police can demand a citizen produce a firearm at any time for inspection or confiscation. Spain has enacted, it would seem, the kind of “common sense restrictions” American gun-control advocates crave.

But of course, that doesn’t mean that Spanish citizens don’t buy guns. In fact, Spanish taxpayers maintain an enormous arsenal of weapons, which are all in the hands “professional armed police forces within the administration of the state, who are the persons in charge of providing security to the population.”

Those agents of the state weren’t “providing security to the population” of Catalonia on Sunday — they were pointing guns at would-be founding patriots who had challenged the rule of their oppressors.

“If somebody tries to declare the independence of part of the territory — something that cannot be done — we will have to do everything possible to apply the law,” Spain’s justice minister said in a public address.  While many polling places were closed or barricaded, 2.3 million voters (90% in favor of independence) were permitted to vote, he claimed, “because the security forces decided that it wasn’t worth using force because of the consequences that it could have.”

The consequences of a government using force to control those it is sworn to protect must be high. When citizens are armed, the consequences for tyranny rise and its likelihood falls.

Armed Tyrants

Americans have grown too trustful of the State, too ready to assume bureaucrats have only our best interests at heart. Even with a maniacal man-child in the Oval Office, many are seemingly eager to turn over individual liberty to those who promise to manage our lives for us. The United States was designed to be the smallest government in the history of the world, with no standing army, and little right to intrude in the private activities of its citizens. Instead, we have the most powerful and intrusive government in human history, with 800 permanent military bases in 70 countries, unfathomable firepower, and staggering surveillance capabilities. Unchecked abuses of power are routine and tolerated.

67 federal agencies, including the IRS and the FDA, have military weapons, according to the OpenTheBooks Oversight Report The Militarization of America. Among the most intrusive programs, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Safety Authority, do not disclose their weaponry budget.

Don’t say “Americans shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns” when what you mean is “citizens should only be allowed to buy guns for their rulers.


The number of armed government officials with arrest and firearm authority has doubled since 1996. The US now has more armed “civilian” federal officers (200,000+) than US Marines (182,000). The IRS spends millions of taxpayer dollars annually on pump-action shotguns, AR-15 rifles, riot gear, and Special Forces contractors to train thousands of “special agents” in targeting American citizens.

Local police, sheriffs, and state troopers have also been armed to wage war against American citizens.  Battlefield weapons are being given to state and local police, allegedly to combat drug trafficking and fight terrorist threats at local pumpkin festivals. Military SWAT-style raids are used to serve search warrants for low-level drug possession, not hostage situations. Relatives and neighbors of alleged criminals have had government guns held to their children’s heads. Violations of civil rights, including illegal searches and the seizure of money and property without evidence of any crime, are commonplace.   

Law enforcement requests military equipment directly from the Pentagon’s war-fighting machine: tanks, machine guns, rocket launchers, tear gas, camouflage, shields, and gas masks.  Military equipment is often purchased with civil asset forfeiture slush funds to bypass legislative appropriations challenges.

The high percentage of civilian law enforcement who are military veterans (one in five, by some estimates) compounds the cultural risks of treating average Americans like enemy combatants.

Showdowns between civilians and heavily armed agents of the state in Ferguson, Baltimore, the Oregon Wildlife Refuge, and at various other political protests across the country should remind us that gun control advocates won’t be reducing the number of guns so much as shifting them all into either federal or criminal hands.

The senseless murder in Las Vegas is a frighteningly familiar tragedy. But don’t say “Americans shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns” when what you mean is “citizens should only be allowed to buy guns for their rulers.”

Laura Williams


Laura Williams

Dr. Laura Williams teaches communication strategy to undergraduates and executives. She is a passionate advocate for critical thinking, individual liberties, and the Oxford Comma.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

 

LECTURE BY PROF. UMBERTO ECO AT THE UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS IN NEW YORK ON “AGAINST THE LOSS OF MEMORY” (October 21, 2013)

LECTURE BY PROF. UMBERTO ECO AT THE UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS IN NEW YORK ON

Sorgente: LECTURE BY PROF. UMBERTO ECO AT THE UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS IN NEW YORK ON “AGAINST THE LOSS OF MEMORY” (October 21, 2013)

“Populismo digitale. La crisi, la rete e la nuova destra” 

Professor Dal Lago, Lei è autore del libro Populismo digitale. La crisi, la rete e la nuova destra edito da Raffaello Cortina: cos’è il populismo digitale? Nel mio libro l’ho definito come l’appello al popolo che viene propagato in rete. Ma vorrei notare come la rete sia al tempo stesso il mezzo e l’obiettivo dell’appello. Casaleggio e Grillo a suo […]

Sorgente: “Populismo digitale. La crisi, la rete e la nuova destra” di Alessandro Dal Lago – Letture.org

L’arca di Noè, oggi si chiama autonomia

di Raúl Zibechi*

L’immagine biblica del “diluvio universale” e la costruzione di un’arca da parte di Noè per salvare l’umanità e le altre specie da una distruzione certa, è troppo conosciuta per spiegarla. È sufficiente solo chiarire che si tratta di una parabola presente in diverse culture e che non è patrimonio esclusivo delle religioni che si ispirano alla Bibbia.

Il diluvio è la tormenta, nel linguaggio zapatista, per cui si tratta di un primo parallelismo con le riflessioni dei movimenti anti-sistemici. Proprio come nel racconto della Genesi, ai nostri giorni l’umanità affronta la possibilità della sua scomparsa come conseguenza di un insieme di fattori come il cambiamento climatico e la crisi degli antibiotici, ma soprattutto per la quarta guerra mondiale scatenata da los de arriba contro l’umanità.

Una seconda questione riguarda le ragioni per costruire un’arca. Ossia un rifugio davanti alla catastrofe. Questo è uno dei temi centrali degli attuali movimenti e del dibattito che promuove l’EZLN. Non si tratta di un rifugio al fine di rinchiudersi bensì per proteggersi e continuare a costruire mondi nuovi, continuare a resistere alle aggressioni del capitale e degli stati.

Lo zapatismo ci chiama a organizzarci, un primo e ineludibile passo per affrontare la tormenta/diluvio. A partire da questo passo, possiamo pensare a farne altri ancora, come costruire qualcosa di nuovo e quindi difenderlo nel mezzo della distruzione. Il punto chiave è cosa e come costruire. Di per sé, ne consegue che non possono essere costruzioni identiche a quelle che stanno portando l’umanità alla rovina.

A mio parere, queste [arche] sono le autonomie. Spazi creati e controllati dai diversi abajos per sostenere la vita. Se non siamo capaci di costruire le arche/autonomie, semplicemente non potremo sopravvivere alla quarta guerra mondiale. Sono i modi per tenere lontano i potenti e le loro guardie armate, perché sappiamo che vengono per noi.

Dobbiamo decidere di quali materiali saranno le arche, quale progettazione devono avere, chi vi può entrare. Il punto chiave, quello che ci distingue dall’arriba, è come prendiamo le decisioni. Nel sistema capitalista le prendono una manciata di persone situate al vertice della piramide sociale, i più ricchi e influenti. Tra di noi, le prende la gente comune, los de abajo, uomini e donne semplici.

La terza questione consiste se Noè doveva tener conto o meno della derisione dei suoi vicini, se doveva cercare di convincerli che il diluvio era imminente e le ragioni per cui costruiva l’arca. Se si fosse dedicato a ciò, non gli avrebbero dato né il tempo né le energie per finire il suo lavoro. L’esempio è la migliore pedagogia.

In questo momento, succede qualcosa di simile. Se dedichiamo le nostre energie a discutere all’interno del sistema, che sia in campo elettorale o in qualsiasi altro, che sia per conquistare un qualche governo o per “migliorare” quello già esistente, allora non avremo le forze per costruire qualcosa di diverso. È l’esca che ci mettono davanti per disarmare la nostra capacità di costruzione e quindi, di resistenza.

La creazione del nuovo e la resistenza si nutrono in forma reciproca. La resistenza non può essere di pure idee, ideologica come si dice nei circoli di militanti avvezzi. La resistenza di lunga durata deve includere l’acqua e il cibo (ma di qualità), la salute e un’istruzione a nostra misura, scienza e tecniche appropriate, giustizia comunitaria e difesa degli spazi e dei territori. Se non è così, se si esaurisce nel discorso, è una resistenza che durerà poco, probabilmente tanto quanto durano i discorsi.

Difendersi dai de arriba ma incentrarsi sui de abajoUna volta passata la tormenta, arriverà il momento della ricostruzione, che può essere il momento di espandere i mondi nuovi che già esistono in piccole dimensioni, nelle arche/autonomie che abbiamo costruito e difeso. Nulla è certo, né si tratta di una proposta con pretesa di strategia, ma solo uno sguardo di quanto fanno da qualche tempo una manciata di movimenti anti-sistemici.

fonte:https://comune-info.net/2017/09/larca-noe-oggi-si-chiama-autonomia/

Pubblicato anche su Desinformémonos con il titolo El arca de Noé, hoy se llama autonomía.
Traduzione per Comune di Daniela Cavallo.
L’adesione di Raúl Zibechi alla campagna di Comune “Un mondo nuovo comincia da qui” e quella di Gloria Muñoz Ramirez per Desinformemonos.

Against Conservative Internationalism 

The EU provides a convenient villain for those eager to blame the rise of neoliberalism on unelected bureaucrats acting at the behest of capital. But if historians are correct, this account is a fable that distracts from a grimmer reality.

Sorgente: Against Conservative Internationalism | Dissent Magazine

Illusioni partecipative. Il populismo della/nella rete nell’era della post-verità 

Gioacchino Toni – recensione: A. Dal Lago, Populismo digitale (Raffaello Cortina, 2017) e G. A. Veltri – G. Di Caterino, Fuori dalla bolla (Mimesis 2017)

Sorgente: Illusioni partecipative. Il populismo della/nella rete nell’era della post-verità – Carmilla on line

Registrazione audio integrale dell’udienza di “Processo Bagarella ed altri (presunta trattativa Stato – mafia)” che si è tenuta giovedì 6 luglio 2017 a Palermo.

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Registrazione audio integrale dell’udienza di “Processo Bagarella ed altri (presunta trattativa Stato – mafia)” che si è tenuta giovedì 6 luglio 2017 a Palermo.

Gli argomenti trattati nel processo sono: Bagarella, Brusca, Carabinieri, Ciancimino, Cina’, Cosa Nostra, Dell’utri, Istituzioni, Mafia, Mancino, Mori, Riina, Stato, Subranni.

La registrazione audio dell’udienza ha una durata di 2 ore e 55 minuti.

È possibile scaricare il file dell’audio integrale nelle prime 3 settimane dalla pubblicazione di questo processo cliccando sull’apposita icona download.

Nationalism Is a Farce That Ends in Tragedy

Karl Marx famously began The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte by observing that Hegel “remarks somewhere that all facts and personages of great importance in world history occur, as it were, twice.” Hegel, and by implication Marx, was wrong. The uniqueness of circumstance and the individuality of actor mean that history does not, and cannot, repeat itself. But sometimes historical conditions and attitudes do recur, albeit in modified forms. More arresting is Marx’s comment that history repeats “the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” Today the farce being played out in the United States is plain for all who care to witness it. The historic tragedy that the farce obscures is harder to discern, and portends the resurgence of conditions and attitudes that in the past have led to disaster.

The “Mass Man”

Anybody who is not like everybody, who does not think like everybody, runs the risk of being eliminated

Writing in the 1920s, the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset chronicled the assent of the “mass man” in the cultural and political life of Europe. Ortega did not equate the masses with the working class any more than he associated the elite with civility and decorum. An attitude of mind, rather than class affiliation or identity, distinguished the mass man. Simply put, Ortega argued that the mass man lacked the intellectual and spiritual discipline necessary either to exercise power or to safeguard tradition. His was a commonplace, pedestrian mind that remained dull and inert until animated by some external stimuli that quickly provoked a compulsion to act. Unwilling to engage in rational debate, to apply the rules of logic to disagreements, to acknowledge external judgments, or even to recognize the existence of other points of view, the mass man “is satisfied with thinking the first thing he finds in his head.” He has no ideas as such, but can only express his “appetites in words.” Fearful of diversity and incapable of tolerating, or even of apprehending, distinctions, the mass man embraces a deadening conformity and “crushes… everything that is different, qualified and select.” Anybody who is not like everybody, who does not think like everybody, runs the risk of being eliminated. Such intellectual and spiritual vulgarity, Ortega reflected, had brought to the vanguard a type of man without precedent in the long history of Europe, a man who “shows himself resolved to impose his opinions” by coercion and force without giving due consideration either to evidence or reason.

Ortega lamented the assertion of this right to be unreasonable—the “reason of unreason” to use a phrase from Don Quixote. Obedient to no authority, the mass man “feels himself lord of his own existence.” He refuses to challenge himself to improve. He places on himself no demands of any kind, but instead “contents himself with what he is, and is delighted with himself,” regarding his “moral and intellectual endowments as excellent [and] complete.” The man of true excellence, by contrast, appeals always to a transcendent standard. If none exists, or if he can no longer access those that served in the past, he must invent a new one, which is more severe, arduous, and exigent. Discipline is the commanding principle of his life, and he is forever dissatisfied with himself, striving always to attain the lofty ideals that he has established. Ortega linked the rise of the mass man with the emergence of syndicalism on the left and fascism on the right. Both movements revered action and violence, ultimate expressions of the barbarism into which European civilization had descended. Yet, the lineage of such brazen enmity and resentment is even more venerable.

Illiberal Nationalism and Racial Hate

In their political offensive against socialism and democracy, many European statesmen, generals, aristocrats, entrepreneurs, clergymen, and intellectuals had, by the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, found in nationalism a convenient doctrine to electrify and exploit the masses. Until after the Revolutions of 1848, nationalism had been a liberal initiative. Liberal nationalists, such as the Italian Giuseppe Mazzini, sought to create a Europe composed of free and independent states each peopled by free and independent citizens. During the second half of the nineteenth century, nationalism severed its relations with liberalism and became the incubator of dictatorship and war.

Militant nationalists rejected the emphasis on individual liberty in favor of national unity. Determined to achieve or to restore national greatness, they assailed parliamentary government for breeding division and spreading discontent. They accused minorities and foreigners of contaminating the purity of the nation, and persecuted them in an effort to rid the land of such afflictions. Displays of military prowess came to symbolize the vigor of the national spirit and the resolve of the national will. Rather than an instrument of compromise, a vehicle for reconciling differences, or a means to solve problems, politics blundered into a spectacle of emotion, permitting nationalists to transform the nation into an object of worship and to reprove any critique of their persons or their programs as illegitimate and traitorous. Political opponents became enemies of the people and the state. Each nationalist triumph lured Europeans further into a dream world, increasingly estranged from reality. In time, Ortega wrote, they came to prefer this “fictitious existence suspended in air.” As early as 1902, the German philosopher Friedrich Paulsen warned not only of the threat that nationalism posed to the peace of Europe but also of the danger it presented to the traditions of rational thought, moral conduct, and humane sentiment:

A supersensitive nationalism has become a very serious danger for all the peoples of Europe; because of it, they are in danger of losing the feeling for human values. Nationalism, pushed to an extreme, just like sectarianism, destroys moral and even logical consciousness. Just and unjust, good and bad, true and false, lose their meaning; what men condemn as disgraceful and inhuman when done by others, they recommend in the same breath to their own people as something to be done to another country.

With growing fanaticism, nationalists saw themselves and their countrymen as a heroic people with a unique history and culture that was distinct from, and better than, those of the inferior “races” whom they had every right to conquer and to dominate.

During the twentieth century, anti-Semitism became the most virulent expression of the radical nationalist worldview. The myth of the diabolical Jew illustrated Georges Sorel’s insight that people are unified by their hatreds and stirred by their passions. Although a champion of the proletariat, Sorel, like the radical nationalists, insisted that the appeal to myth (for Sorel it was the myth of the general strike) inspired heroic action and offered simple, clear, and persuasive explanations for circumstances that were otherwise tortuous, mystifying, and often frightful. Myth afforded not the opportunity for thought, analysis, or contemplation, but performed instead as a call to arms. Long before the Nazis perfected the technique, the sensational polemics issued against the Jews became the standard method of propaganda by which nationalists advanced their mythic deceptions and aroused the masses.

The Cruel Illusion

They dispensed with civility and truth. They came to mistrust ideas and to despise intelligence

Those who embraced such positions were impervious to rational inquiry. On the contrary, they had abandoned reason and made superstition, fear, and hatred vital components of political life. They sought not so much to fashion a new civilization as to destroy the old one, believing that the rules and standards of society had subjected them to a terrible violation of their rights. “Primitives in revolt,” as Ortega characterized them, they had inherited a comparatively prosperous and stable world, while remaining unaware of, and perhaps indifferent to, the effort required to create and sustain the many advantages from which they benefitted. As a consequence of their grievances and their ignorance, they could forsake any and all obligations to their fellow human beings. Like perpetual children, they yearned to be free to exercise the rights and privileges that they thought they deserved, which the unworthy, the unrighteous, and the unjust had so cruelly denied them.

They imagined that life was easy and bountiful, or that it ought to be. When they found themselves toiling under grave limitations, deprived of the things to which they believed justice entitled them, they looked for someone to blame. In their determination to assert themselves and to exercise power over others, they forfeited intellectual and emotional maturity. They dispensed with civility and truth. They came to mistrust ideas and to despise intelligence. They negated morality, adopting whatever expedient served the interests of the moment and enabled them to justify actions for which there could be no justification. Whether they considered themselves revolutionaries or reactionaries, they became consumed by partisan zeal. The nineteenth-century German historian Theodore Mommsen concluded that those bewildered but uncompromising souls routinely dismiss:

logical and ethical arguments… They listen only to their own envy and hatred, to the meanest instincts. Nothing else counts for them. They are deaf to reason, right, morals. One cannot influence them.

Mommsen likened such a disposition of mind to a terrible disease for which medicine had no cure.

That many Europeans during the 1920s and 1930s, including the well-educated and the well-born, found such attitudes congenial proved ominous for the future of civilization in the West. It revealed how acquiescent the mind is to false but emotionally gratifying doctrines, recounting what by then was already the sad, old story of how easily decent persons can sink into corruption, decadence, and barbarism. Farcical this narrative may have been. But if the historical drama played out in Europe during the early twentieth century began as farce, with actors pretending to catastrophe because they did not really expect it to happen, it was a farce that ended in tragedy.

Reprinted from The Imaginative Conservative

 


Mark Malvasi

Mark Malvasi is a Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. He teaches history at Randolph-Macon College.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.